This year, you will probably see a lot of Top 19 Beers of 2019 lists. Next year will bring the inevitable 20/20 lists, but I want to focus on (9) SoCal best beers, (2) California brewed beers and then I will toss in a pair of out-of-staters that I really loved too for an uneven lucky 13 stand-outs.
Ambitious Ales – Fleurs
Some beer ingredients make you wonder where the recipe came from, and Fleurs is one of those beers. Lavender, chamomile and strawberry (all unique flavors) inside a simple Belgian Table beer? Well, it works and works well from this new Bixby Knolls brewery.
Angel City Brewery – Pineapple Saison
I initially thought this would be light and tropical, but this was no wimpy Saison. This was practically an imperial Saison layered with a heavy hand of pineapple that made this beer a double threat.
Beachwood Brewing – Hopular Cluster NE DIPA
8 hops – Mosaic, Citra, Galaxy, Waimea, Ekuanot, Amarillo, Comet, and El Dorado – make up this big DIPA from Beachwood and somehow instead of a muddle, this was a jolt of bitterness with a wide variety of flavors.
Beachwood Blendery – Pyrus Rustique
This beer was a collaboration with Homage Brewing and they found a way to make a beer loaded with pears a real treat. If pressed to pick an overall #1, I would point to this bottle. I sampled it in two different locations and it impressed each time.
Boomtown Brewing – Bong Joon Hops
Next Year, the movie “Parasite” might be bringing home an Oscar and this year it counts as one of my top beers in the crowded IPA style. With the smell of popcorn hanging in the movie theater, this beer cut through the aroma noise to deliver a citrus take on IPA.
Highland Park Brewery – Pleasant Pils
Bob Kunz and the team at Highland Park are my go-to for light beers and Pleasant Pils was my personal favorite from his light line-up. Always crisp and bubbly. L.A.’s champagne of beer.
Los Angeles Ale Works – Aquanaut IPA
Kveik yeast was the star ingredient of 2019 and it was paired up with Sabro and Idaho 7 hops for a real tropical fruit blast that still carried just enough bitterness along for the ride as well.
Smog City Brewing – Echo Echo Echo Saison
Maybe I have a soft spot for lavender. This combo of the herb with second-use Farmer’s Market peaches was a gentle touch of the two flavors swirling on top of a base of Saison that would be a perfect food pairing beer for practically any course of a meal.
Tortugo Brewing – 2 Dumb Dinos West-Coast IPA
I have to admit that this was not one of my favorite can labels that I have seen, but when the can opened and that first wave of aromas hit, I was taken in. This was a lovely straight up West Coast hop bomb that also had some unique layers underneath.
8 Bit Brewing – Redpool
Temescal Brewing – Belgo Belgian Pale Ale
Bell’s Brewery – Double Two Hearted
Crooked Stave – Sour Rose
With the Rise of Skywalker coming to movie screens, it is appropriate for the Non-IPA Beer of the Week to be Lavabeer from Tortugo Brewing. Why? Because the label design for the 16-ounce can was designed by Nathan Hamill. Yes, the son of Skywalker. The beer from the Inglewood based brewery is “An American Red Ale brewed with Simcoe, Citra and Dry Hopped with Centennial Hops” and reminded me of Sierra Nevada’s winter seasonal, Celebration.
Was it really 12 years ago that The Bruery started their 12 Days of Christmas beer series? Well, if you would rather drink then sing that old chestnut of a holiday song then head to Naja’s Place for the 12 Days Collection on tour. The following beers will be pouring: A Partridge in a Pear Tree, 2 Turtle Doves, 6 Ladies Dancing, 8 Maids-A-Milking, 10 Lords-A-Leaping, 11 Pipers Piping and 12 Drummers Drumming.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.